Top 7 Biggest Cyber Attacks of the 21st Century

Top 7 Biggest Cyber Attacks

We live in a world where cyberattacks are becoming increasingly common. With everyone and every business now conducting some processes electronically and also wanting to stay in touch with their target audience, a cyberattack is a real threat.

Top 7 Biggest Cyber Attacks of the 21st Century

The bigger your organization is or even if you’re an influencer that has millions of followers online, the bigger the risk of being hacked will be. People will want to get their hands on your data and you may wonder what to do if your Facebook account is hacked? Or if any of your social media or systems get attacked.

Well, the first course of action should always be to have a good VPN like VeePN on your phones and your laptops. The second thing in wanting to avoid your Facebook getting hacked is to always keep a very strong password and two-factor authentication. These small practices can be the very difference between you losing your data and staying safe online.

Let’s look at some of the biggest cyberattacks in history and what you can learn from them.

1.     Equifax

When the personal information of 143 million of its customers was stolen, Equifax, one of the country’s top credit bureaus, took a major hit.

Intruders gained access to a variety of personal data, including the names, addresses, and driver’s license numbers of customers.

Around 209,000 people had their credit card information taken in the incident, which went beyond just stealing their personal information.

According to the organization, the data breach was caused by an application vulnerability on their website. As of July 29, 2017, no evidence pointed to the attack having begun before mid-May of that year.

2.     Yahoo

Seven years after the first breach and four years after the full quantity of records compromised were revealed, Yahoo is still one of the most famous cyberattacks. The company first publicly announced the incident – which it said took place in 2013 – in December 2016. During the acquisition process, Verizon estimated that more than a billion of its customers’ accounts had been hacked by a group. Yahoo stated less than a year later that the total number of user accounts compromised was 3 billion. There were “more affected user accounts,” according to Yahoo, which said the increased estimate did not reflect a new “security concern.”

3.     Linkedin

Another one in the list of famous cyber crime cases is the LinkedIn breach. In June 2021, data linked with 700 million LinkedIn members were released on a dark website, affecting almost 90% of its user base. The hacker known as “God User” exploited the site’s (and others’) API before leaking an initial data collection of about 500 million consumers.

They then boasted about selling the entire 700 million client database. While LinkedIn claimed the incident was not a data breach because no sensitive personal data was exposed, a scraped data sample posted by God User contained email addresses, phone numbers, geolocation records, genders, and other social media details, giving malicious actors plenty of data to craft convincing follow-on social engineering attacks.

4.     Facebook

In April 2019, two Facebook app datasets were discovered on the internet. The data includes phone numbers, account names, and Facebook IDs for over 530 million Facebook members. However, two years later (April 2021), the data was freely available, showing new criminal intent. Due to a large number of exposed phone numbers, security researcher Troy Hunt added functionality to his HaveIBeenPwned (HIBP) breached credential checking site that allows users to check if their phone numbers were exposed.

5.     Target Stores

Target shops were hit hard in December 2013 when they realized they’ve become victims to one of the biggest cyberattacks in history. The attack had exposed the credit/debit card numbers and/or contact information of about 110 million individuals.

The hackers gained access to their private network by using a third-party HVAC vendor to POS credit card readers. The cyber-attack cost them around $162 million.

6.     Adult Friend Finder

Data from six databases, spanning two decades, was taken from the FriendFinder Network, an adult social networking service, in October 2016. With more than 414 million accounts affected by the data breach (including names, email addresses, and passwords), the company’s services – including casual hookup and adult content websites like Adult Friend Finder, and – were particularly susceptible. In addition, the vast majority of the leaked passwords were hashed using the notoriously insecure SHA-1 technique, which was broken to a rate of about 99 percent by the time published its study of the data set on November 14, 2016.

7.     eBay

The hacking of a user’s database was another cyber attack that sent shockwaves throughout the world.

In May 2014, hackers breached the user database of the e-commerce giant by using corporate staff login credentials.

They held full control of their network for 229 days. As many as 145 million people were affected by the data breach, which included personal information such as names and encrypted passwords.

Customers’ financial information was, however, protected by the corporation because it was held in a separate database and was not accessed. As a result of the beach, the corporation was widely criticized and suffered significant losses.


These famous cyberattacks have one thing in common, they were all directed towards companies that had valuable customer data. If your business deals with such information, you are at a greater risk of being a victim of a cyber attack. This is why you should always use a good VPN and other security measures when operating on digital devices.

Must Read: Australian Companies Failing to Report on Cyber Security

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